Stephen Hester’s bonus is wrong – but what about Wayne Rooney’s millions?

Bankers’ bonuses are an easy target. Politicians should raise other excesses, such as footballers’ pay or lottery winnings

Politicians have been falling over themselves to have the toughest stance onStephen Hester’s £1m bonus from RBS, which he has now turned down. Being tough on bankers’ bonuses is seen as an easy vote-winner, and they are desperate to make political capital out of the public mood. Like anyone with a commitment to greater social equality I don’t dissent from the near-universal criticism of Hester’s bonus. However I can’t help feeling cynical about the outcry. If politicians are so concerned about pay excesses, why don’t they talk about some of the other areas of excess – the obscene pay of footballers, for example, or unimaginably vast lottery winnings.

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Regeneration games

While housebuilders circle the greenbelt like sharks, vast tracts of urban land lie derelict

It is fortunate that tomorrow’s urban summit, evaluating “urban renaissance” in the UK, will be held in Birmingham. Because the city, along with Manchester and Newcastle, is one of the few places in the country where there are any signs of urban renewal at all. Most other cities are still in crisis. In the north-west, vast tracts of urban land lie derelict, while in the south-east the failure to transform cities, especially London, into places worth living in means our countryside is under ever-increasing threat. Housebuilders catering for city escapees are grabbing ever-larger chunks of countryside.